unknown caterpillar
I found this while clearing out a place on our acreage in town. We live on the Texas Coast in the coastal plains, in Calhoun County. There were three of them on a Chinese Tallow branch that I trimmed. I couldn’t find any damaged leaves around them, so they may have just been on the move. I found them on my oleander plant this morning, just “chillin.” Other plants nearby where I found them – dewberry, lantana, Texas persimmon, poison ivy (I didn’t get into that, don’t worry!) Mustang grapevine, tickseed, thistle, wild chives. We have more but they are much farther away from the spot. Hope you can help – my son and I are very curious. I couldn’t find them on BugGuide or What’s That Bug. Thanks -

Hi Michelle,
Searching our archives at What’s That Bug?, as well as searching the archives of our favorite identification site BugGuide (and BugGuide is way more organized than we are), can be a daunting task if you don’t know exactly what you are searching for. Both of our sites have numerous images of your species, the Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar, Battus philenor. Interestingly, none of the plants you mention are host plants for the caterpillar. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Aristolochia species. These include ‘Pipevine’ or ‘Dutchman’s Pipe’, Aristolochia species ( tomentosa, durior, reticulata, californica ), as well as Virginia Snakeroot, Aristolochia serpentaria. Larvae presumably take up toxic secondary compounds from their hostplant.” Your photo indicates this is probably the final instar for the caterpillar and it is getting ready to metamorphose into a chrysalis. If that is true, the caterpillars might be wandering away from the plant that they were eating in search of the perfect location for pupation.

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Can you identify this chrysalis?
I encountered four chrysalis hanging from the doorframe of a storage shed (Altadena, California, USA–Los Angeles area). Can you identify the species? 3 jpegs attached. Thanks,
Mike Hickman

Hi Mike,
These are Mourning Cloak butterfly chrysalids. There is a great photo on BugGuide of a group of chrysalids, but they were raised in captivity. Locally, the caterpillars feed mainly on Chinese Elm and Willow.

This isn’t a bug, it’s an alien!
I love your website. I’ve always been fascinated by the strange and wonderful world of creepy crawlies. What is this bug? My girlfriend had a nighttime rendezvous with it in her garage. She lives in Southern California. Thanks,

Hi Joel,
This isn’t an alien, it is a native (to Southern California) male Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa varipuncta. We saw our first male Valley Carpenter Bee yesterday flying around our oak tree sapling in a territorial manner. Females of the species are a rick black color and are slightly larger.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

My son found a very large caterpillar several months ago. We kept it and watched it make its cocoon. It just came out of the cocoon this morning. Here is a picture. Please tell me what kind it is. Sorry I didn’t take a picture of the caterpillar or cocoon. Thanks,
Tom Pace

Hi Tom,
This gorgeous moth is known as the Royal Walnut Moth or Regal Moth. The striking caterpillar is called a Hickory Horned Devil. We get numerous moth and caterpillar photos, but we are sadly lacking in a pupa image.

Carpet beetle larva from MN
Hello Daniel and Lisa.
Thanks to your site, which I visit almost daily now, I was able to identify a carpet beetle larva when I first saw it last year crawling up the wall in my room. Now I found another one this year in the same place and time, and now I have a better camera for getting a decent picture of it. I noticed that you made it the Bug of the Month for April, and the picture you have up there is a little blurry, so I thought you might like some clearer images. I’m still not sure of the species of this one though. I live in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Hi Joel,
Thanks for providing us with a sharper and more current image of a Carpet Beetle Larva. We scoured the archives for the one we originally posted in the Bug of the Month for April 2008 posting.

Devil’s mare
Hi Bug guys!
I found a nymph and an adult of this mantis, Empusa fasciata, on a hike to the south of Jerusalem, Israel last weekend (April 11-12). The common local name for it is the ‘Devil’s Mare’. I think the name suits it quite well, don’t you? Feel free to post them on your wonderful site!

Hi Ben,
Thank you for sending us your awesome Devil’s Mare images, and also thanks so much for sending each of your creatures as a separate email. We will post this for sure, and others when we are able.